RIPA’s vision for Park-as-Lab is a research collaborative where scientists, environmental advocates, and communities work together on scientific research. Park-as-Lab works to encourage civic engagement, support STEM career paths, and increase our understanding of New York City’s ecosystems, ultimately promoting more resilient communities.
Through promoting opportunities to participate in and increase understanding of scientific research, Park-as-Lab aims to:
- Facilitate applied environmental science and ecology research on Randall’s Island
- Support community needs by promoting public participation in science research from conception to implementation
- Foster partnerships through continued engagement and communication
Park -as-Lab is interested in conducting urban ecology for the people, by the people. PAL looks to answer community questions and concerns. We would love to know what you want to learn about your local environment! Please share your thoughts and help us shape future PAL monitoring and research projects.
What does the Park-as-Lab program do?
Urban Ecology Research
Through the Park-as-Lab Program, researchers from high school, college, and graduate to professional levels use Randall’s Island as a site to explore scientific questions related to environmental science and urban ecology. Student researchers, with an adviser from their school, conduct independent research projects or assist with a long-term monitoring project on the Island. Topics range from the impact of water quality on fish community composition to evaluating the ability of plants and soil microbes to remediate soil. RIPA also asks for input from local stakeholders so that research through Park-as-Lab reflects community-identified needs and interests.
Environmental Monitoring & Community Engagement
RIPA works to connect youth and adults to the Island through environmental monitoring. Interested students, individuals, and organizations have opportunities to work with RIPA’s Natural Areas Department and participate in monitoring projects, such as counting and identifying the fish species that live in our waterways and tagging monarch butterflies migrating through New York City. Staff and volunteers collect data to contribute to larger citywide and regional projects that improve our understanding of local ecosystems. Check out RIPA’s website for opportunities to participate in Park-as-Lab events and environmental monitoring activities.
Outreach & Online Resources
RIPA works with partner organizations to ensure that research on Randall’s Island is informed by and benefits the surrounding communities. Data and reports from research and monitoring projects are shared on RIPA’s website. Attend a data interpretation workshop, view our summary reports, or check out lesson plans to learn about how you can use data available on our website and what they mean to you.
Park-as-Lab Interactive Map
Our interactive map visualizes locations at which ongoing and completed environmental monitoring or academic partner projects at Randall’s Island Park are conducted. Since 2011, students, professional researchers, RIPA staff, and volunteers have participated in a variety of community science and research projects related to urban ecology and environmental science. The map serves as a repository of all these research efforts. Users can locate sites where researchers have collected data related to water quality, vegetation, and wildlife on and around Randall’s Island. Information associated with each point directs the user to corresponding datasets, reports, and/or posters on the Randall’s Island Park Alliance website that are available for download.
How to use this map
Visualize points where research is conducted on Randall’s Island using the panel to the right. You can turn layers on and off using the Wildlife, Water Quality and Vegetation buttons. This allows you to visualize a portion of or all of the projects on Randall’s Island depending on your interest.
Download datasets, reports, and posters
By clicking on an individual point, you can see the project name and description. There is also a link to materials (datasets, reports, or posters) that contains or uses data collected at the location of the point. All of these materials are available for download.
- Water Quality